Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Brenda Murphy

Advisor Role




The increased incidence of natural disasters over recent decades has been accompanied by a corresponding dramatic proliferation of human casualties, economic damage and recovery costs. Post-disaster processes are therefore increasingly becoming the paramount focus of disaster-management stakeholders. Current research has noted the importance of improving community resilience with respect to household capacity, organizational capacity, and social capital, as the three main assessment dimensions to enable communities to recover effectively and efficiently from future disaster events. Community resilience involves proactive preparedness and mitigation initiatives. In the context of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the lack of either precedent research or functioning post-disaster recovery policies made the 2009 and 2011 flash floods in the City of Jeddah extremely serious natural disasters.

The principal objective of the research conducted for this thesis was to evaluate the importance and implications of the role of the three main assessment dimensions as well as the effect of religious aspects that characterized Saudi society during and post-disaster with respect to improving flood resilience, speeding recovery, and minimizing the detrimental impact on vulnerable communities. In addition, the optimal utilization of social capital, efficient internal cohesion, and effective resource-sharing within and across any community groups to ensure their advance preparedness and contribution are also fundamental and critical factors that must be addressed if post-disaster recovery is to be sustainable and resilient.

The research entailed a literature review, including an examination of the lessons learned from the 2009 and 2011 flash floods in the City of Jeddah. Drawing from the literature, an initial resilient post-disaster assessment framework (RPDR-AF) was developed. The field case study involved three sources of information: secondary data, interviews, and field observations. Interviewees included household members, government officials, community leaders, and participating NGOs and CBOs. The empirical analysis combined qualitative and quantitative techniques focusing on themes derived from the RPDR-AF.

The results of the research indicate a strong correlation between the incorporation of all three assessment concepts and the successful planning of a long-term recovery strategy. The research also shows that religious practices and leaders can be strong motivators for the implementation of effective overall post-disaster responses and can also deliver significant spiritual, emotional, and psychological support for alleviating the trauma associated with the recovery process. Based on the empirical analysis of the research results, a refined framework was developed. In addition, general and strategic recommendations were outlined to improve disaster resilience for the City of Jeddah. The framework would be useful for local government, decision-makers, volunteer organizations, local citizens (e.g., for perceiving the relevant tasks during a flash flood and act quickly accordingly), and relevant major stakeholders related to disaster management and recovery. The model was built based on a hypothetical notion that it would suit the study area considering the religious affiliation of the local citizens. However, improvement might be extended considering geographical locations and different socio-economic circumstances.

Future avenues of investigation include improving the implementation of recovery planning and management as well as enhancing the knowledge and efficiency associated with the restoration, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of the assets and areas affected. In conclusion, the developed framework will provide Saudi authorities with a strategic tool for assessing and improving flood resilience and recovery and for reducing the multiple effects of a natural disaster, while effectively facilitating an enhanced capacity for resilience in other at-risk Saudi communities.

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